22 September 2015
‘Empathy fuels intercession’ – Mark Batterson
Humans love to categorise, organise, and label things – including one another!
When used properly with people it can help us to better understand the unique elements that have shaped the individual (English/American, Christian/Non, Male/Female, Northerner/Southerner, Church Denomination, on and on). But those categories removed from a desire to understand how to better know, care, serve and love someone can quickly become dehumanising and create a culture of ‘us vs them.’
Christians are perhaps some of the worst culprits when it comes to dividing ourselves (denominational nuances, style of music, the list is endless). But in Galatians we see that, ‘there is neither Jew, nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus’ (3:28).
As servant leaders we do not lead out front, we lead in the midst of people.
How do we lead in the midst of people? We need to know them, and they must know us. I don’t mean know about us, I mean they must know us. It is in the knowing that empathy takes shape (empathy meaning, the ability to understand another from their point of view).
What I pray for our team is that we are servant leaders who respond like Jesus in Matthew 9:36 – seeing the crowd, and having compassion on them. That when we stand up to lead we see people that we know, serving empathetically and are moved to action – intercession.
The action of intervening or saying a prayer on behalf of another is the dictionary definition of intercession. As we lead corporate sung worship, we’re not having a nice sing-song. We are intervening on behalf of our brothers and sisters. We sing those words into their hearts, we sing those words over their lives as prayers asking the Holy Spirit to take the truth of Scripture and testify and convince them of what is true (Rom 8:16).
Augustine said, ‘he who sings, prays twice’ – our songs are not merely a mix of melody and lyric, our songs are prayers of intercession. As a servant leader, sing it like you believe it, and sing it like you believe it on behalf of those we lead.